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Your first wave: Paddling
24 March, 2013
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Your first wave: YOUR FIRST WAVE!
14 April, 2013
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Your first wave: takeoff

wave-takeoff

Hi everyone!

Now you’re lying on your boards, looking towards the beach, controlling every few seconds what the wave behind you is doing and of course you have to paddle really hard because you didn’t position yourselves close enough to the lip of the wave. So far, so good. You feel how the wave catches your board. The pulse rises. The world fades away. Let’s go!

Three possible scenarios:

  1. The wave takes you with it, you stop paddling and you’re already outside the wave.
  2. The wave takes you with it, you don’t stop paddling and you do a nosedive and you get washed away.
  3. The wave takes you with it, you start floating, you have a look at the other surfers around and you do your takeoff like it was a Sunday walk with the family

So what happened? In the first case you need to paddle longer, until your board really sticks in the wave. If this also doesn’t help, you’re either paddling too weak waves or you’re paddling in the wrong spot, where the waves are too flat.

Scenario 2 can sometimes happen really fast, for example when you’re in the Cala from Atlantik Surf, where the waves come relatively steep. If this happens with ‘normal’ waves too, you start floating too late – instead of taking off at about 2/3 height of the wave, you’ll be sliding it down and cutting in the water directly with the nose. Very unpleasant.

So what’s to be done to come to the third scenario? As soon as you feel that the wave is really taking you with it, lay your arms on the board at the chest level and push your upper body upwards until the tailbone. It’s important that you *don’t* push yourself up with your arms – and the front of the board down – or you will gain speed, slide down the wave and do a nosedive. The move comes in most part from the lower back and the neck. That way you decrease speed and can comfortably look at other surfers. Then from the upper third of the wave start your takeoff. Here you push yourself with a quick impulse away from the board – this time the strength does come from the arms – and you position your feet in the middle of the board and bend your knees a little to be more flexible – especially with high waves you also have a drop that you absorb through your knees and by leaning backwards. Et voila: takeoff mastered!

So that was it for today. Next time we’re going to put it all together so you’re ready – at least in theory – for your first green wave!

Cheers!

Dominik

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